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Australia’s best hiking snack bars

It feels like almost every freeze-dry company or hiking food brand is coming out with their own snack bar. They’re all claiming to be the best but what does that really mean? I’ve picked up some of the hiking staples and some new entries into the market to see how they all stack up.

(this is a list of the best bars available in Australia, not made)

Me munching on a Cliff Bar on the Overland Track
Me munching on a Cliff Bar on the Overland Track

I’ll be ranking the bars on three factors:

Taste – always a key part to choosing your hiking snacks!

Nutrition – often overlooked, nutrition is vital to a great hiking trip.

Bang-for-buck – nobody wants to spend an arm and a leg on a weekend away, so always worth a look.

So without further ado let’s get into the list!

Feel free to jump to your favourite bar to see how it ranked:

On Track Meals – Summit Bar

First cab off the rank is this somewhat new entry into the market from On Track Meals, known for their ready to eat meals including their addicting steak. This bar is quite different coming in two flavours, Choc Cherry and Apricot. I’m not going to sugar-coat this, they are sweat bars and great if you’re pushing up a big hill but not something I’d be content with packing as my one and only snack savour. The bar, which looks much like a small Cliff Bar unfortunately just doesn’t have that same yummy hit which keeps making me want to come back for more. Never the less it is a stellar bar for a pretty reasonable price.

Taste – 2/5

Nutrition – 3/5

Bang-for-buck – 3/5

Clif Bar

Ah, a true favourite in the minds of many adventurers, how could I put the Clif Bar down? Well, I myself am a huge fan, Clif Bars are amazing products which have really hit the mark on flavour - time and time again. They’re also really easy to get your hands on as almost all the major supermarkets and retailers sell them, meaning stocking up for an upcoming adventure doesn’t need to be a chore. However, it would be remiss of me if I was to say that Clif Bars were affordable when buying snacks for a long adventure as they simply do not stack up next to the price of a box of protein muesli bars. But for many of us, these can be a great treat, packing 2-3 for when the going gets tough and you need a reward.

Taste – 5/5

Nutrition - 4/5

Bang-for-buck - 2/5

Chief Nutrition – Beef Bar

Chief have tried something quite different when it came to making a protein bar. They didn’t seek to use the artificial flavours and additives seen in many others bars, instead opting for a much more natural source of protein – beef! In doing this they have made a bar stacked with protein that kicks a little different to other brands. Yes it is saltier – which is often great for adventures where you are out in the sun sweating and burning energy like no tomorrow. The taste is quite good but somewhat subdued, letting the beef do the talking instead of the flavouring. However, I wouldn’t recommend you pack 10 of these in your pack before you set off on your week’s long trek; instead, make this that pick-me-up you need when you’re craving something a little different from the rest of your snacks.

Taste – 3/5

Nutrition – 5/5

Bang-for-buck - 1/5

Keep it Cleaner – Plant Protein Bar

So Keep it Cleaner is your typical supermarket stocked protein bar… with a small plant based twist. They’ve got some big things going for them like they are easy to buy, relatively cheap, packed full of protein and come in a range of flavours and sizes. This makes the range quite versatile and the perfect option for Vegan hikers. But, just like most protein bars you buy from a supermarket, these bars can have some downfalls and that’s in their flavour. Unfortunately, after you’ve had a few of these bars, the flavours can get quite repetitive, and even turn you off from eating them, so I’d highly recommend that you mix it up with a few flavour combinations and throw some other brands into the mix to spice things up.

Taste – 3/5

Nutrition – 4/5

Bang-for-buck – 3/5

All Natural Bakery – Oat Slice

Down on nutrition, packed full of energy, the All Natural Bakery Oak Slice is the one you go for when times are getting tough and all you need is the energy to push further. This slice is loaded – packing 400 calories for just 100g of weight. They’re also really delicious, packing a boat-load of sweetness and carbs to keep you going. If you’ve got an early morning on the trail, they can also make a great breakfast substitute. However, their lack of nutritional value can make them not the best for keeping you going past a short burst of energy, with other bars sustaining you for longer! Overall, they are a dense, delicious and energy packed snack perfect for the trail.

Taste – 4/5

Nutrition – 1/5

Bang-for-buck – 2/5

Nature Valley – Crunchy Granola Bar

Now Nature Valley Bars aren't what you’d typically consider to be a ‘hiking bar’ but they do make for a good snack out on the trail. There is a few simple reasons for this, one being that they are cheap (you can buy them in bulk), have a traditional and yet delicious oaty taste and they have the energy content to keep you going. Yes they may be well known for crumbling into a thousand crumbs before you even open the packet, but that is all part of the art of eating them (make sure only to open one end, pouring the leftover crumbs directly into your mouth). All the flavours you’ll find are a hit and when organising snacks for friends, you can rest assured knowing you’ve found a hit!

Taste – 4/5

Nutrition – 2/5

Bang-for-buck - 5/5

So that’s that, there is my list for some of the best bars you can buy for your next hike. This by no means discounts other brands you may find as (yes I know you know) it is all up to personal preference. Nutrition is always important, so balance your snacks between the tastes good and the good for you, and never forget your scroggin (trail mix)!

Written by Josh Welch


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